Allstars End of Season Dinner 2019

At the Parcel Yard pub in King’s Cross station, the Allstars and our other halves came together to celebrate another great season, and award the Allstars of the Year!

First recipient – Ash Rattan, for his great job organising the Paddington Rec nets and for the bowling performance of the season, 4-16 in our epic victory over the Gentlemen of West London.

Next, a more light-hearted award – Sirmad Shafique. He batted well on the Portugal tour, but as Haroon entertainingly told us, he comically almost missed it!

Next up – Sam Perera, our newcomer of the year and leading run scorer with 330 runs. He’s made an incredible impact in his first season with the club.

Our next recipient – club secretary Garreth Duncan, for our best ever season on the recruitment front.

Next up – Paul Burgin picks up an award, on behalf of his brother-in-law Nick Chadwick, for 17 years’ loyal service to the Allstars. We tried to get Chadders on a TV link from Switzerland, but it was past his bedtime!

And finally – the most deserving of awards, as Garreth presents the long service award to Haroon for 10 years’ fantastic service to the club.

A thrilling finish in North London

North Middlesex CC, Sunday 15 September 2019.

Railway Taverners 222-4 (34.4 overs; E Reilly 92*, D Skinner 50, J Dasari 2-43) beat St Anne’s Allstars 219-8 (M Biss 75; S Perera 32; Thompson 31*) by 6 wickets.

Allstars debut: Matt Biss

Report by Garreth Duncan – Photos by Pete Cresswell

September brought a mini-heatwave to London, and a finish to the cricket season bathed in sunshine. At the Oval, England bowled out Australia to secure a consolation victory and a drawn Ashes series. On a beautiful day in North London, we competed fiercely in a fabulous, evenly matched game against Railway Taverners, but couldn’t quite get over the line as the Taverners avenged last season’s defeat.

Enthusiasm for our final game continued unabated, and we arrived with 13 players, club skipper Pete Cresswell kindly volunteering to umpire and score. The North Middlesex pitch looked in excellent condition, and I had no hesitation in deciding to bat first on winning the toss. Samer Hafiz, who had spent his last appearance padded up for 30 overs of the epic Cresswell-Rattan opening partnership against Mighty Wanderers, opened the batting with Matt Biss, finally making his debut after meeting us at the Paddington Rec nets. Having got used to the pitch (which played slightly slower and lower than it looked), they quickly stepped it up as Matt got his drives going and Samer pulled Staw over mid-wicket for 6 via a tip over from the the fielder. They had put on 36 before Samer was LBW to a ball which kept a bit low.

Sachin Singh started in sparkling fashion, whipping the ball strongly through square leg before he top-edged another pull of Shaw and was caught at fine leg. Jono Beagle continued where he’d left off against Crossbats as he joined his Cambridge team mate Matt in a handy partnership of 55. Jono and Matt know each other’s game well, and it was a bit of a surprise when Jono was run out – albeit to a superb direct hit.

Sam Perera has had an Allstars debut season to dream of – he will finish leading run scorer by a distance – and he looked in fine touch once again as he and Matt put on another 46 after the drinks break. But having played superbly for his 75, Matt pulled Mathias Winter to square leg. This brought about a mid-innings wobble as the return of the accurate “Jocky” brought the Taverners back into the contest. Steyn Grobler was lbw to another shooter, Dharani Ronanki cut Mathias to point and Sam became the second to pick out fine leg to leave us 174-7. Paul “KP” Bowman and Gren Thompson counter-attacked, Gren hitting his first ball for 6 as we finished the innings strongly. 219-8 looked like a decent score at the break, but we knew that we’d have work to do on a quick outfield.

After another delicious North Middlesex tea, we took the field. KP and Gren started well against openers Ewer and Vale, but despite two probing spells they couldn’t get the breakthrough. The spell of the day was, however, still to come. Jagath Dasari has had a great introduction to Allstars cricket this season, showing pace and control in every game he’s played, but a first Allstars wicket had still eluded him. Finally, he got his reward as he produced a fabulous spell, dismissing both openers – Vale edging a snorter to keeper Dharani, and then Ewer edging to Samer at slip in the following over to leave the Taverners 39-2.

Taverners are a strong batting line-up, and their skipper Reilly and Dave Skinner then came together in a partnership of 94, beginning slowly before going for it after the drinks break. Vivek Seth bowled tightly again, and finally dismissed Skinner to another sharp catch from Dharani after he’d passed 50. Sam struck in his final over to bowl the dangerous Spee. The Taverners still needed 53 off the last 4 overs – but by now the bearded Reilly was fully into his hitting arc, and was joined by Greg Powles. We gave it our all – but we couldn’t prevent them knocking off the runs with 2 balls to spare.

So the regular season ended in defeat – but it didn’t stop us from all enjoying a drink together as we celebrated another great season. The Taverners are a generous bunch, and treated us to a fabulous spread at the pub in Crouch End which gives them their name. We look forward to playing them again next season.

We will still end our season in style with our tour to Portugal – and we then have our end of season dinner on 9 November to look forward to.  Many thanks to everyone who’s played for us this season!

Crossbats squeeze home at Marble Hill

Marble Hill Park, Saturday 31 August 2019.

Crossbats 206-6 (33 overs: A Dubey 47, J Morgan 2-33, J Beagle 2-38, Shanmugan 2-53) beat St Anne’s Allstars 204-3 (35 overs: M Lo 62*, J Beagle 39, P Cresswell 33 ret ht) by 4 wickets.

Allstars Debuts: Jono Beagle, Martin Barker

Report by Pete Cresswell – Photos by Ashwin Rattan and Pete Cresswell

On an autumnal day at beautiful Marble Hill Park, Crossbats won the toss, and invited the Allstars to have first use of the flat, green artificial deck and lightning fast South West London outfield. The Crossbats were also fielding another XI across the Thames in Ham that day, impressive for a village side!

Accordingly skipper Pete Cresswell strode out to bat alongside debutant Jono Beagle, and the pair built a 62 run stand in 14 overs before Jono nicked off to the 2nd-to-last ball of Crossbats’ veteran Larry Gray’s spell for 39.

Jono Beagle, batting on his Allstars debut

Cresswell and James Morgan then accelerated, the Blenheim Blocker striking his first boundary of the season, dispatching a full toss through square leg. Morgan had managed 3 boundaries in his 14 before being adjudged lbw to a doosra from Avi Dubey, the Crossbats’ best bowler (and batsman) on the day.

That brought Matt Lo to the wicket, where he promptly dispatched his first ball for 4, and he and the accelerating Cresswell added 36 in the next 6 overs, Cresswell being dropped 3 times along the way as Crossbats struggled a little to cover the big field. Cresswell was then struck on the forearm off Srikanth, and retired hurt with the Allstars on 126/3 off 25. While Tony Grant was unluckily run out by Carter soon after, Sachin Singh joined Lo, and the pair smashed 69 off the final 8 overs. 204/3 seemed a handy score at tea.

All 9 Crossbats fielders on the boundary in the last overs of the Allstars innings!

Clouds began gathering during tea however, and with a couple of injuries in the bowling ranks to cover the Allstars took the field.

Crossbats’ opener Mark McAlpine (or “McHunt” as he was addressed by his teammates) went on the attack immediately against Shanmugan. But Shanmugan’s bowling improves with every Allstars game he plays, as he produced a superb ball to draw an edge behind off Stuart Skinner.  A rain shower then arrived and everyone took cover at 22/1 in the 5th. The rain made the pitch and outfield greasy, a tricky prospect given that no spikes were allowed because of the artificial wicket.

Unfortunately Sachin Singh slipped and injured his ankle in his delivery stride upon the resumption, forcing his replacement by our other debutant Martin Barker. McAlpine and Dubey immediately took the opportunity to attack, but Shanmugan’s excellent spell continued as he struck again at the end of his 4th over, bowling McAlpine. 49/2 off 7 was still a decent start for the Crossbats.

Crossbats’ skipper Carter then joined Dubey, and the pair played their shots against a damp ball and several injured fielders, adding 80 in 10 overs before the advent of Beagle and Morgan. Carter lofted Beagle to Morgan at mid-on who juggled the catch, ultimately trapping the ball between his knees. Morgan then sent Adam Skinner and Wright back in short succession, both having their off stumps cartwheeled as 3 wickets fell for 9 runs. When Sachin took a screaming catch at slip to remove Dubey for 47 the Crossbats were 152/6 and worried about their long tail.

However with only 53 needed off 13 overs, Venkatachalapathy and Sayers were able to take their time and use the pitch and outfield to their advantage. They had the odd nervous moment as Barker generated pace off his shortened run up, but ultimately got the Crossbats home with 13 balls to spare.

So after our narrow wins in 2017 and 2018, the Crossbats finally win another close game.  We look forward to seeing them next year.  We then decamped to the Crown, whose publican is a Crossbat, to help them celebrate a double-win Saturday.

A huge shoutout goes to Ashwin Rattan, who stepped in after a late drop-out on Friday, umpiring our whole innings and fielding at fine leg all day while nursing a broken finger.

We have one final game of our regular season to look forward to, against Railway Taverners, before we head to the sunshine of Portugal for our end of season tour in October.

Tigers sharpen their claws at Brighton

East Brighton Park, Sunday 18 August 2019.

Zambuca Tigers 140 (40 overs; A Chauhan 64; P Bowman 3-13; M Langridge 2-24) beat St Anne’s Allstars 59 (36.3 overs; Brookshaw 3-6; Ryan 2-13) by 81 runs.

Report by Vivek Seth – Photos by Pete Cresswell

Allstars debuts: Roshan Herath; David Nandi; Jan Roussouw; Simon Hemelryk.

An (eventually) sunny afternoon saw the first encounter between my two truly tremendous village cricket teams: the London-based St Anne’s Allstars, and the Brighton-based Zambuca Tigers.

For much of the week leading up to the game, this author did not know which team he would be playing for. Both sides had seen fluctuating squad numbers caused by work clashes, injury, a Tigers game the previous day, and a desire to watch the final day of the second Ashes Test… Anyway, 22 players eventually arrived at East Brighton Park, theoretically ready to play a game of cricket. Jon Elsom would lead the Tigers, and me skippering the Allstars.

Heavy rain earlier in the day made it a definite bowl first day. With Elsom’s toss-losing reputation having continued, the Allstars went out to bowl. Paul Bowman and Martyn Langridge began the proceedings, providing the Allstars with pace at one end and guile at the other. Both proved to be reliable as ever. Bowman took the early wicket of Andy Clarke in the third over before Elsom and Nigel de Silva steadied the ship. De Silva in particular continued to find the boundary with ease before being bowled by Langridge for 17. That sparked a mini-Tigers collapse, losing two further wickets for only 7 more runs. Elsom was run out by a truly extraordinary throw from debutant Roshan Herath, while Langridge trapped Nick Straiton leg before to leave the Tigers 34-4.

Apurv Chauhan then launched his expected counter-attack with good effect, ably assisted by Al Tomlins who shored up the other end. The Allstars’ bowling change brought Sam Perera and debutant David Nandi to the attack. Both caused the Tigers problems. While Nandi was very unlucky not to take a wicket, Perera took the wicket of Tomlins which sparked another Tiger mini-collapse, going from 53-4 to 81-8. Adding to Perera’s wicket was a run out, an LBW from Sachin Singh in his only over (injury preventing him from bowling an extended spell), and a great ball from debutant Jan Roussouw whose pace and accuracy provided similar levels of ‘X Factor’ that Jofra Archer offered at Lord’s the same day.

That brought Joe Brookshaw to the crease who alongside Chauhan proved impossible to dislodge. I brought myself and Pete Cresswell on to try and change things but all to no avail. Indeed, getting Brookshaw and Chauhan out proved to be more difficult for Cresswell and I than keeping our floppy sun hats on. The windy conditions at East Brighton Park meant that the pair of us spent more time chasing after our own hats than we did running after balls!

Eventually, the return of Bowman to the attack helped bring the wickets of both Tigers but not before a fine partnership of 44. Chauhan was bowled for a truly impressive 64, and Brookshaw for 24. The Tigers were 140 all out, only ten minutes short of the declaration time.

Tea was very well received although my contribution of Mr Co-op’s Colin the Caterpillar birthday cake was no adequate replacement to the sadly-missing Elsom lemon drizzle. The number of doughnuts was especially welcome given the Allstars’ penchant for cake-heavy teas.

Buoyed by news that England were making decent progress in the Test, the Allstars went out to bat. Singh made a promising start, creaming a drive through the covers for 4, only to be bowled by Mahmood Alam the ball after. Soon after, Joe Brookshaw took the wicket of Cresswell with a truly unplayable ball that pitched on middle stump before nipping back and clipping off. It was Brookshaw’s 200th wicket for the Tigers and a fine way to mark such a milestone. Indeed, Brookshaw’s bowling proved to be a constant menace throughout, eventually finishing with figures of 3-6 from 8 overs, including four consecutive maidens at the start of the spell.

Some quality Tigers bowling coupled with a pitch that was providing increasingly low bounce meant that batting was tricky for the Allstars. No-one was able to stay in for any meaningful time. Brookshaw quickly took the wickets of debutant Simon Hemelryk and Sam Macdonald leaving the Allstars 13-4 and battling for a draw. Herath and Perera helped steady things with a partnership of 25 before Perera succumbed to the typically menacing bowling of Si Ryan. Roussouw only lasted two balls before Ryan claimed him as his second victim.

With 20 overs to go, the Allstars were 40-6 with Herath and Nandi both at the crease looking just to bat time. Both looked remarkably comfortable until Herath was run out for 13. Yet more panic spread through the Allstars’ ranks with Bowman falling to Swapnil Vartak with 18 overs to go, and Langridge being caught off Elsom’s bowling with 15 overs to go. That left me (a specialist no. 11 for both the Tigers and the Allstars) and Nandi to try and see out 15 overs for the draw. Remarkably, we survived ten overs but not without several scares off the tidy bowling of Tomlins, Straiton and Clarke. However, with all eleven men around my bat (in a manner strangely similar to the one that Jack Leach adopted at exactly the same time to Pat Cummins), Tomlins took the final wicket with me hitting across the line. With the Allstars bowled out for 59, the Tigers secured an 81 run victory.

Both sides agreed that this was a very enjoyable day and a fixture worth keeping. Particular thanks to the four debutant Allstars (David, Simon, Roshan and Jan) for bringing their cricketing skills and sense of fun to the match – we would gladly have you back. My thanks also to the all the Tigers for being such tremendous hosts and for making the Allstars so welcome – we look forward to hosting you next year.

Cunning Allstars outfox the Weasels

Barnes Common, Saturday 10 August 2019.

St Anne’s Allstars 246-5 (35 overs: Mihir Mogre 107, Sam Perera 74) beat New Barbarian Weasels 232-9 (35 overs: Amjad 43, Wilson 41*, Perera 2-27, Jimmy Scott 2-41, Tony Grant 2-47) by 14 runs.

Allstars debutants: Mihir Mogre, Ibrar Hussain, Max Bascombe.

Report by Pete Cresswell – Photos by Garreth Duncan, Pete Cresswell and Ashwin Rattan

Following on from the success of the Allstars Festival, enthusiasm for the Allstars’ first home match of the season – at our spiritual home, the tree and bramble-ringed Barnes Common – reached yet greater heights. At one stage an astounding 17 Allstars had made themselves available: 15 showed up in person at the ground, with Martyn Langridge generously turning out for the oppo, Ash Rattan bringing wife and dog along to spectate, Haroon Khalid umpiring much of the game, and skipper Pete Cresswell serving as tea-boy and scorer for the day. Special mention goes to Mihir Mogre for travelling from another continent to make his Allstars debut – he was to impress both with the bat and in the outfield.

The Weasels are a long-standing Allstars opponent, and we feel privileged to be their only opposition for this year. As with last year, a number of their players journeyed all the way from Birmingham on the morning of the match, impressive dedication!

After overnight rain Barnes presented a typically spongy pitch, with a lush, but fast outfield. Allstars’ skipper James Morgan won the toss, and immediately opted to bat first – a decision he initially rued as Weasels’ opening bowlers, Humza and Samad, both started like demons. Vikash Choudhary, who had impressed with a fifty on his debut against the Gents, faced the first over from hell, surviving two close LBW shouts before being well caught by Martyn “The Cat” Langridge at slip off a ball that lifted off a length. When Dave Halladay’s first shot in anger picked out backward square leg in the second over, the Allstars were 0-2.

We were not to be deterred by this tough start: many great Allstars victories, most notably our breakthrough win against Trengilly Wartha in 2002, have started from similar unpromising positions. Debutant Mihir joined skipper Morgan and the pair watchfully built a 51-run stand in 8 overs, seeing off the threat of the opening bowlers, before Morgsie carved Weasels’ skipper Omar straight to cover. Sam Perera strode out at number 5, and promptly hit his second ball for 4, and his third for 6, to set a tone for the superb partnership that followed, Sam’s power contrasting with Mihir’s classical style. While occasionally troubled by the tennis-ball bounce on offer, the pair feasted on the bowling adding a colossal 166 for the 4th wicket in 19 overs, losing a couple of white balls to the Barnes shrubbery along the way. Steyn Grobler, the next man in, was being cruelly reminded of the epic Cresswell-Rattan 216-run opening stand against Mighty Wanderers last year when he spent the whole innings padded up, only not to get a bat.

All good things must come to an end, and having completed an excellent debut ton – the first for the Allstars this season – in the 29th over Mihir fell LBW to Tom trying to accelerate. Sam was stumped charging the same bowler 2 overs later for a brilliant 74, leaving Grobler and Tony Grant to push the total up to an imposing 246, our highest of the season to date.

After adjourning for tea on the boundary the Weasels sent father and son pairing of Imran and Hamza out to open their reply. Imran found debutant Ibrar Hussain’s bowling to his liking, going on the attack from the outset, but Vikash, making the most of the strong breeze from the southern end, troubled both openers conceding just 8 off his first 4 overs. Weasels had still started promisingly – but unfortunately for them (and possibly for some family harmony), a calling mix-up and a good throw from Garreth Duncan to keeper Grobler easily ran out Hamza. Imran continued along and punished anything short – but the introduction of Sam Perera in the 9th over & the Barnes bounce prompted Imran to top edge a pull shot, the resulting skier was well held by Steyn running back from the stumps.

In the late afternoon sunshine, the pitch was slowly getting easier to bat on, and Amjad and Kandeepan then combined for a brisk 60-run stand, keeping the scoring rate well in touch with the required 7 an over. Kandeepan even reverse-swept a couple of boundaries – a shot rarely seen in an Allstars game – and at the drinks break Weasels were 106-2 with the game in the balance.

Straight after the break, the Allstars roared back with a spell which looked to have sent the game decisively our way. Kandeepan top-edged a sweep off Tony and taken in a fine running catch by Mihir. A nice cameo by Mo was ended when he charged at Jimmy Scott, missed, and lost his leg stump, and the very next ball the Weasels’ Aussie keeper Dave went in a carbon-copy wicket. With the field up for the hat-trick ball Omar swept for 4, taking the score was 134-5 off 21 overs. The asking rate was by now 8 an over – tough, but still within Weasels’ reach as the boundaries continued to come on a quick outfield.

Tony Grant continued an excellent spell, getting the crucial wicket as he deceived Amjad and bowled him around his legs – he had batted impressively, top scoring with 43. At 155-6 it was advantage Allstars – however Weasels’ veterans Omar and Iain Wilson weren’t finished yet, as they attacked the spin of debutant Max Bascombe and Garreth. Omar was run out for 19 attempting a non-existent second run, but Wilson was in fine form for an excellent 41 not out, as he put away a few loose deliveries through square leg. Max bowled Tom for his first Allstars wicket – but at 211-8, with 36 required off 4 overs, a Weasels victory still seemed possible.

Thankfully for the Allstars, the return of our best bowlers kept it just beyond their reach. The extra bounce from Sam and Vikash proved harder to hit than the earlier spin – and with 20 required off the final over from Sam, he accounted for Nathan, well caught by skipper Morgan on the extra cover boundary. The Weasels finished 15 short, and victory was ours – but 478 runs in 70 overs on Barnes made for an excellent day’s cricket.

We all headed to the Sun Inn to celebrate. Onwards to Brighton next weekend, as we take on Vivek’s local team the Zambuca Tigers for the first time.

Ed. – I think Pete is being very modest about the excellent tea he made, the quiche being particularly impressive. Had it been an opposition tea, it would have been in the running for the Golden Scone award.

A fighting draw on Matfield Green

Matfield, Saturday 13 July 2019.

Matfield Green CC 216-4 dec (39 overs; Dann 72, E Cooper 51) drew with St Anne’s Allstars 129-7 (38 overs; Woods 30).

Report by Garreth Duncan – Photos by Pete Cresswell and Charlotte Woods

It was a weekend of sport which will be forever etched on the memories of those who witnessed it. In the greatest one day cricket match of all time, amidst unbearable tension at Lord’s, England prevailed over New Zealand in a champagne Super Over to win the World Cup. At the same time, across London, two tennis greats went head to head in the Wimbledon men’s final as Novak Djokovic overcame Roger Federer in a fifth-set tie-break. While we couldn’t match the sheer, seat-of-the-pants excitement of those two classics, on a picture postcard Kent village green the Allstars battled hard and deservedly emerged with a draw.

Despite falling agonisingly short of victory against Mighty Wanderers the week before, cricket’s feel-good factor resulted in a wave of enthusiasm unprecedented in our history. The lure of the game was so irresistible to so many Allstars that we had 15 signed up at one stage – a couple of late dropouts meant that we played with 12 and I resumed my old school cricket role as full-time scorer for the day. This gave me the chance to try out a new scoring app, which worked a treat and enabled me to send out the full scorecard on WhatsApp straight after the game.

Skipper Pete Cresswell lost the toss, and we fielded first. But it didn’t seem a bad toss to lose, as cloud cover persisted through the afternoon and gave the bowlers a bit of assistance. Paul “KP” Bowman opened up and got some movement straight away, giving Matfield opener Greg Dann a testing start. Dann might have been caught at mid-off second ball, but the fielder was a fraction late in starting for the catch and the ball landed just short. This was to typify our day in the field, as the breaks just didn’t go our way throughout Matfield’s innings.

Dann quickly got going with some crunching drives down the ground, with the lightning fast outfield meaning anything that pierced the infield went to the boundary. The moving ball and occasional shooter made it a tough day for first-time keeper Sachin Singh, and extras helped move the score on throughout. Ed Heelas also got some swing in a tidy opening spell, but without any luck. But KP continued to trouble both openers, and struck first as he knocked back Justin Bowden’s stumps.

Jagath Dasari once again worked up a good pace, and can feel especially unlucky not to get his first Allstars wicket by as the half-chances in the field continued to go against us. Shanmugan Sama replaced Ed, and started in good rhythm. But Dann was well into his stride by now, and Euan Cooper, after a slow start, also began to time the ball sweetly. At the drinks break Matfield had reached 108-1 and it was looking ominous for the Allstars.

Dann and Cooper both went to their fifties, and as their partnership passed 100 a massive score looked likely. But as we took pace off the ball, the run rate slowed and we found a way back into the game. Vivek Seth’s bowling has come on in leaps and bounds the last couple of years, assisted by weekly nets at his other club Zambuca Tigers, and he produced his best spell in an Allstars shirt as he bowled a tight line and even broke Cooper’s bat. Jimmy Scott, familiar to the opposition from his many appearances at Matfield for the Canbashers, also bowled well, and got the breakthrough as Dann was caught at cover by his old mucker Chris Woods. Next over, Vivek finally got his reward as he took a sharp caught-and-bowled to remove Sutton. Tony Grant struck with his first ball to bowl Euan Cooper, and three wickets had fallen for 11 runs. Matfield skipper Hal Cooper and Shawn Spies stopped the rot, and finished with a flourish as they passed 200. Their final total of 216-4 was a good effort, but we certainly thought it chaseable.

Matfield treated us to a fabulous tea, their scones and cream and hot sausage rolls standing out amidst an excellent spread. It was a team effort – though one of their number got some serious stick from his team mates for the lamest excuse ever for failing to help out with making tea, claiming as a left-hander he “couldn’t butter with a right-handed knife”. Suitably refreshed, we set about the chase. Openers Pete and Chris started cautiously against the excellent “Spees” – as the oppo told us he likes to pronounce it – and Craig Butfoy, as just 16 came off the first 6 overs. The score then doubled in the following over as Chris went on the attack, hitting Butfoy for two monster sixes down the ground. Both openers then went in quick succession, Pete run out going for a sharp single and Chris caught behind off Spies, to leave us 43-2 after 11 overs.

Sachin was joined in the middle by KP and both kept the momentum going. Sachin was still troubled by an ankle injury he picked up in a previous fixture, so he dealt almost exclusively in boundaries with some scorching cover drives. KP was just beginning to get going when he was caught and bowled by left-armer Lewis Overy, who then got a second when Sam Perera, after a positive start and the second broken bat of the day, was incredibly held one-handed, Ben Stokes-like, at mid-off. Sachin then fell LBW to the tall Ash from a ball which kept a bit low, and we were 87-5 with plenty of the mandatory last 20 overs still to be bowled.

At this point, we had no choice but to shut up shop, and TG and Jimmy began the resistance. It is great to see them both still enjoying their cricket so much. Despite being perhaps the oldest ever Allstars batting partnership, like the Rolling Stones they have the lust for life which would put men much younger to shame, and they defied the Matfield bowlers as they continue to defy the years. Jimmy was to get out in bizarre fashion, as the ball deflected up off his pad onto his glasses and into a fielder’s hands – only after the game was it clarified that the mode of dismissal was LBW. Vishesh Sharma replaced him, impressively reining in his instinct to hit out as he blocked out 16 balls before being taken low at midwicket off Iwan Shotton.

With 8 overs still to go, we were 112-7, and the draw still far from secure. But on this day nothing was getting past TG’s broad bat, as he continued to block solidly while still dispatching the odd bad ball for four. Ed, a mighty fine number 9, was also rock-like in defence, and the overs slowly ticked off. Spies came back for one last go, but got nothing as TG and Ed continued to stand firm. He and Hal Cooper had finished off the tail with some sharp pace as we fell just short of saving the game last year, and we were perhaps fortunate that Cooper’s knee problem meant he could only bowl two overs of spin this time – but in the end, we saw the last couple of overs out with ease to secure the draw. TG’s determined innings of 17 not out took him 57 balls, as our new scoring app confirmed, and he was deservedly our man of the match.

So the Allstars were in high spirits again as everyone celebrated a great game of cricket in the Star Inn afterwards. Matfield were generous and sociable opponents, and we look forward to visiting them again next year. Many thanks to everyone for playing, to Haroon Khalid for driving down with the kit, and to Chris’s daughter Charlotte for devotedly watching us play all afternoon.

So we move on to the highlight of our domestic season, as in two weeks’ time we all gather in Dulwich with our families and friends for the Allstars Festival. Hoping to see you all there!

Mighty Wanderers edge a one-day classic

Saturday 6 July 2019, Mill Hill School.

Mighty Wanderers 240/9 dec (50 overs: Leahy 67, Knight 53*, Thompson 2-37, Bowman 2-39, Burgin 2-42, Shanmugan 2-47) beat St Anne’s Allstars 223 (47.1 overs: Perera 55, Lo 54) by 17 runs.

Allstars Debutants: Matt Lo and Tom Abrahams

Report by Pete Cresswell

Photos: Pete Cresswell, Iain Wilson, Gren Thompson, James Abrahams & Paul Bowman

Following our epic win over the Gentlemen of West London two weeks earlier, the Allstars entered July on a high. After last year’s high scoring draw over Mighty Wanderers, where we retained the James Abrahams Trophy, both teams agreed that more time was needed to ensure a result in 2019, and accordingly we played a full day fixture for the first time in our history.

The lovely Mill Hill School ground was our venue. The Allstars were able to lend Iain Wilson (himself already on loan from the New Barbarian Weasels) to the opposition, allowing a full Allstars debut for Tom Abrahams, a couple of months short of his 13th birthday, becoming the first child of an Allstar born during our playing history to make his debut for the club.

After a slightly delayed start, Mighty Wanderers won the toss and opted to bat first. Openers Smith and Winter took the crease and began cautiously against probing seam bowling from Paul “KP” Bowman and Gren Thompson on a pitch featuring fairly low, slow bounce. They negotiated the opening 10 overs before Bowman trapped Smith LBW in the 11th, with just 33 on the board.

Leahy came into bat at 3, and could have fallen early had Sam Perera held a tough chance running around the fine leg boundary, but he then showed off some imperious drives, interspersed with a couple of French cuts passing agonisingly close to the stumps. He and Winter added 52 for the second wicket before Shanmugan bowled Winter in the 23rd to claim his first Allstars wicket on the stroke of lunch.

We enjoyed an excellent lunch – pictures shared on the club WhatsApp group so moved club president Maxie Allen that he missed the posted lunch score update, and instead spent the lunch break demanding score updates from poolside on his holiday in Spain. When we resumed, Sam also took his first wicket for the club by bowling Mathias in an excellent an 11 over spell broken only by the break. Shanmugan then grabbed a second as he bowled Wilson for 12 to reduce Mighty Wanderers to 120/4 off 33 overs.

Wilson’s dismissal brought Knight to the crease. We know from previous years that Knight is a very capable batsman, and he and Leahy attacked the spin of Paul Burgin and debutant Matt Lo. Paul conceded 20 off his first two overs, but bounced back well to take 2 wickets in his third, deceiving Leahy in flight to get him stumped by Dharani Ronanki and bowling Mighty Wanderers’ debutant Dinesh for 1. At 166/6 the match was nicely poised.

Knight and Hughes continued attacking, forcing the reintroduction of Bowman and Thompson, who quickly clamped down on the scoring. Hughes was bowled by KP for 24, and Thompson was rewarded for some tight bowling with the wickets of Tjasink and Martin before Wilson completed his 50.

The declaration came 30 minutes before tea with Mighty Wanderers 240/9, leaving skipper Cresswell to stride out with Burgin to negotiate a tricky 20 minute spell. We couldn’t quite make it to the break without losing a wicket: with 5 minutes left in the session Cresswell was somewhat ignominiously stumped off a wide from Tjasink for 90 fewer runs than he made in this fixture last year, his tactic of batting out of his ground to seamers allowing Knight a shy at the stumps from 5 yards.

At 17/1 we took tea, which surpassed lunch – the Allstars have truly been treated to some amazing teas this year – after which Matt Lo, making an impressive Allstars debut, began aggressively, well supported by Burgin in a half-century stand. The introduction of Dinesh, bowling right arm around the wicket, seam drew edges behind from Burgin and Bowman for 12 and 2 respectively to reduce the Allstars to 85/3.

Sam Perera joined Matt Lo and the pair put together a brisk 41 run stand that put the Allstars on top, only for the returning Tjasink – a stalwart for Mighty Wanderers who’s taken plenty Allstars wickets over the years – to seam one back through the gate and bowl Lo for a well crafted and attractive 54. This brought Sachin Singh to the wicket, hobbling on a rolled ankle. He and Sam advanced the score in singles and boundaries, but they still kept up with the required 4 runs an over as the game entered the final 20 overs after 6:15pm. Sachin holed out after a brave 19, before James Abrahams added another 10 with Sam to get the score to 174/6.

We needed 67 to win in 17 overs, and the game was still in the balance – but this was the point where the game swung in Mighty Wanderers’ favour. Sam was bowled by Smith for 55 – his second successive fifty – and Shanmugan and Dharani quickly fell without any further score leaving the Allstars reeling at 196/9. Wilson’s shout of joy at trapping Shanmu plumb LBW and avenging his own dismissal may have been heard in South London.

Young Tom Abrahams then joined Gren Thompson, showing a resolute defence and some shots that belied a number 11. Some lovely strokeplay from Gren at the other end, along with some more of the 28 wides bowled in the innings, kept the required run rate below 4. With 5 overs left, all four results were still on – could we snatch victory against the odds and hold on to the trophy?

Sadly, this time it wasn’t to be. With just 18 runs needed to win, Tom edged Leahy and was taken by a good slip catch after scoring four times as many as his old man. He proved a chip off the old block however, channelling his inner Stuart Broad and waiting for the umpire’s finger before walking off. Gren was left unbeaten on an excellent 19, and the Mighty Wanderers regained the James Abrahams Trophy.

All in all, an excellent day of cricket. Many thanks go to the Mighty Wanderers for being excellent hosts and genial opponents, and their tea ladies for excellent food at lunch and tea. Mill Hill School provided a lovely picturesque venue, and Iain Wilson proved a true gent in first turning up to help the Allstars, then agreeing to play for the Wanderers.

We will be back next year to try and regain the trophy – but in the meantime, next Saturday takes us to one of the most scenic venues of the Allstars season, as we take on Matfield on their picture postcard village green in Kent.